Sunday, December 27, 2009

Washington County Small Businesses of the Year

Kingsbury - The ARCC's Washington County Business Council and the Washington County Local Development Corporation recognized four Washington County family-owned businesses as the recipients of the 2009 Washington County Small Business Award. The recipients were recognized and presented with this unique award at a luncheon catered and hosted by Rainer's Gourmet Inspirations, on Friday, December 4, 2009. Pictured above from left to right are: R. Kent McNairy, of Northern Design and Building Associates and the Chair of the ARCC's Washington County Business Council; Tori Riley, the Executive Director of the Washington County LDC; George Gore and Michael Laney, of Gore & Laney CPA's, an award recipient; Amy Walker-Bailey and Larry Bailey, of Walker's Farm Home & Tack, an award recipient; Wendy and Matt Rathbun, of Rathbun's Maple Sugar House Restaurant; Seth McEachron, of Battenkill Valley Creamery, an award recipient; and Todd Shimkus, President of the ARCC.

In his remarks to the nearly 100 guests at the lucheon, Kent McNairy stated: "Each of us on the Council as part of the award selection process learned a lot about each of the nominees. They all have an extraordinary story to tell. A story of survival where success was the only option but hard work was required to achieve success. No one was handed a business with a sure fire path to success. Everything they have and everything they’ve accomplished was earned. These local businesses are more often than not a passion or a cause for those in charge. You're living the American Dream in spite of the nightmares that have arisen from time to time."

He noted a few specifics as well about each of the award winners.

Battenkill Valley Creamery: "Speaking of unique, this family owned business is among the most entrepreneurial you’ll ever find. You have to be to survive in the dairy business for 5 generations. Perhaps everyone knows them for their world-famous chocolate milk but I must tell you that I love one of their marketing slogans. To encourage consumers to buy their home made ice cream, they’ll state proudly – “From our cows to your cone.”

Gore & Laney CPA's: "Over the years, this award has gone to manufacturers, agricultural businesses, tourism destinations, restaurants and retail businesses. When we looked at this nomination, we decided it was critical as well to recognize those professional service businesses that work to help all of the others to succeed. Gore and Laney has been in business in Washington County advising clients and customers, small businesses and individuals, families and friends for 31 years. They are passionate advocates for Washington County’s small businesses and work very, very hard to help them to succeed, grow and thrive."

Rathbun's Maple Sugarhouse Restaurant: "This unique local restaurant is much more than a place to go for breakfast or lunch or the best Maple Syrup in the world. It’s a destination that attracts visitors and consumers to our county by the car and bus load. The experience that they’ve created is a model of others to follow and is a real credit to their ingenuity and extraordinary customer service."

Walker's Farm, Home & Tack: "Like so many others in this county, Walker’s Farm, Home and Tack was started by Amy’s grandparents who started farming and selling grains and feed off their back porch 60+ years ago. This is a true family operation with Amy’s dad, Leon, still serving as the greeter chatting with customers all the time. To succeed, they’ve constantly expanded their product offerings making this an exceptional destination for shoppers near and far. But perhaps where they separate themselves from most is in customer service and the knowledge of their employees. In the Tack Department for example, the employees are competitive riders. They own and train horses. They usually know as much as the most educated consumer and most often more."